Once upon a time a French medical anthropologist with the highly unlikely name of Dr. Clotaire Rapaille had a extraordinary idea. He gathered a handful people in a room of his upstate New York mansion and proceeded question them about their first ever experience with automobiles.
His goal was simple: to delve deep into his subject’s subconscious and bring out their most primal, emotive responses to cars. His research garnered some remarkable results that seemed to point to the fact that modern car design was all wrong and what consumers really wanted was something very different. The result of this research was one of the few automobile successes of the past few decades: the Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Now, what’s all this got to do with digital out of home, I hear you mutter? Well, there is a point to all this; just this week a joint venture was launched with The Marketing Agency , Emotion Mining and Merchant Mechanics that offers clients a ‘killer app’, as Alan Klein from The Marketing Agency calls it, for uncovering consumer’s subconscious attitudes to the brands they buy. In a very simplified nutshell, the research should provide the DOOH industry with some solid ground rules on the type of creative we should be playing on the screen to attract and engage consumers.
Dr. Tom Snyder, of Emotion Mining, explained to me how he sees this approach as a spring-board for strategists and creatives as they develop ideas and how it helps marketers get to the core of what consumers really feel about the brands they buy. He calls it a “rich harvest of subconscious imagery”
From my persepective, it’s an interesting idea that could have some real world implications in the digital out of home space. Little or no pre-research is done for DOOH creative, it’s usually cost or time prohibitive, but, if we began to mine some real, usable data that helps us figure out what creative triggers we need to develop to attract consumers in a cluttered retail space.
What I also like about this is that it’s not a numbers game, let’s leave that to the metrics guys, and really focus on the creative side of what we should be showing in-store. Of course, not every brand or product is going to have the money and time to conduct this depth of research, but who’s to say that within the next few years a company like Gillette wouldn’t dream of running an in-store commercial without first running a test like this. It’s a reality that’s coming closer and I think all retailers, creatives, marketers and the DOOH industry in general could benefit from taking a close look at what’s on offer here.